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A comparison between seasonal changes in soil water storage and penetration resistance under conventional and conservation tillage systems in Aragón

AuthorsLópez Sánchez, María Victoria ; Arrúe Ugarte, José Luis ; Sánchez-Girón, V.
KeywordsReduced tillage
Dryland cropping
Soil water content
Soil strength
Issue DateJul-1996
CitationSoil and Tillage Research, Volume 37, Issue 4, July 1996, Pages 251-271
AbstractLow and extremely variable precipitations limit dryland crop production in the semi-arid areas of Aragón (NE Spain). These areas are also affected by high annual rates of topsoil losses by both wind and water erosion. A long-term experiment to determine the feasibility of conservation tillage in the main winter barley production areas of Aragón was initiated in 1989 at four locations, three on loam to silt loam soils (Xerollic Calciorthid) and one on a silty clay loam (Fluventic Ustochrept), receiving between 300 and 600 mm of average annual rainfall. In this study, we compared, under both continuous cropping and cereal-fallow rotation, the effects of conventional tillage (mouldboard plough) and two conservation tillage systems, reduced tillage (chisel plough) and no-tillage, on soil water content and penetration resistance during the first two growing seasons. Whereas reduced and conventionally tilled treatments generally had similar soil water content during the experimental period, the effects of no-tillage were inconsistent. No-tilled plots had from 26% less to 17% more stored soil water (0–80 cm) than conventional tilled plots at the beginning of the growing season. In contrast to the conventional and reduced tillage treatments, penetration resistances were between 2 and 4 MPa after sowing in most of the plough layer (0–40 cm) under no-tillage at all sites. Fallow efficiencies in moisture storage in the cereal-fallow rotation, when compared with the continuous cropping system, ranged from −8.7 to 12%. The highest efficiencies were recorded when the rainfall in the months close to primary tillage exceeded 100 mm. Since this event is very unlikely, long fallowing (9–10 months) appears to be an inefficient practice for water conservation under both conventional and conservation management. Our results suggest that, up to now, only reduced tillage could replace conventional tillage without adverse effects on soil water content and penetration resistance in the dryland cereal-growing areas of Aragón.
DescriptionThe definitive version is available at: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/01671987
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0167-1987(96)01011-2
Appears in Collections:(EEAD) Artículos
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